Monthly Archives: June 2013

One Hot January – J. Conrad Guest


J. Conrad Guest 039Cynical, sarcastic, wary and somewhat paranoid, one might even say Joe January’s jaded. He’s very much a man’s man and enjoys being single and playing the field. So, it’s a bit of a puzzler why, when he meets Melissa MacIntyre, he doesn’t jump at the chance to bed her. Instead, he does his best to rid himself of both Melissa and her brother whose story of their missing father fails to elicit any sympathy from the hard bitten January.

Imagine Joe’s surprise when six years later, he meets up with Melissa once again. Not only has her father never been found, but her brother, Benjamin Junior, has gone missing as well. Mysterious notes and a strange package found their way to Miss MacIntyre’s possession and she’s come to Joe January once again for help.

Set in the 1940’s, the backdrop of WW II infiltrates the story of “One Hot January”. Pursued by Nazi spies, Joe, Melissa and his friend Lance must find why her father disappeared and what happened to Benjamin Junior before it’s too late.

“One Hot January” is a cleverly written sci-fi detective story for all mystery lovers.

© Dellani Oakes


Under the Western Sky Gets Great Reviews!


Under the Western Sky by Dellani Oakes - bannerUnder the Western Sky, my retro romance set in 1976 Nebraska, is getting rave reviews from readers.

Karen Vaughan Writes:



Meet Bobby, Libby, Danny and Toni along with their various relatives, and some FBI agents trying to wipe out a white supremist group waging war on the country. Back then racial unrest against natives and Mexican immigrants was running rampant which would make it ripe for such a takeover. The story pits friend against friend and the community against itself. Good should prevail over such evil but will it? Keep reading and find out.

Ms. Oakes also handles teen romance and sexual responsibility even though the hormones are running wild. This makes the love story between Bobby and Libby even sweeter. The racial discontent is handled well and woven into the story which makes it intriguing when the FBI and the townspeople fight back.

There is something in it for everyone and a fast paced and exciting read. I like the references to the music of that time. Under the western sky also handles war and heroism along with military pride as the characters deal with loss of spouses and fathers after the war.

I would give this novel five stars for a great read. I found it hard to put down as Ms. Oakes rocked the story.

Christina Giguere had this to say:

Bobby Menendez has it tough, he is a Mexican teenager in a small town that has more than its share of racial tension. On top of that, he is dating Libby Marshal, a blond hair blue eyed white girl. This doesn’t go unnoticed by the local bigots who are determined to make Bobby’s life and everyone he loves, hell. Betrayed by his best friend, Bobby is left to face his enemies on his own all the while trying to protect Libby.

A plan is hatched and traitors close in on all sides while unlikely allies appear to fight at Bobby’s side. Secrets are exposed and the people Bobby thought he knew, reveal their true nature. In an effort to protect themselves and preserve their “perfect” town, it is decided Bobby must die. This is when all hell breaks loose!

Under the Western Sky is a story that could have easily been ripped from today’s headlines only it takes place in the 1970’s. I could almost hear the hiss from the turntable as the Santana record played while Bobby and Libby danced together. Dellani Oakes does an awesome job at depicting the era as well as the issues that plagued that period.

Under the Western Sky is filled with action, romance and suspense which will leave readers glued to the pages or eReader which ever you prefer. I give it 5 stars.

To Purchase Under the Western Sky

Under the Western Sky by Dellani Oakes - 200

The Amazing Marsha Casper Cook


I love Marsha Casper Cook’s books. They are wonderful fun for children, but enjoyable for adults too. Below, I have reviewed two of Marsha’s marvelous books.

Snack Attack – Marsha Casper Cook

Addison Apple hates oatmeal, but that’s what his mother gives him every morning for breakfast. His dog, Sammie, loves it and looks forward to Addison “sharing” it with him every day. Since this means Addison is still hungry, he usually finds some sort of snack to eat on the sly.

After the chocolate cookie incident one morning, Addison’s mother tries a new approach. She decides to let him pick his own meals. After a feast of snacks, will Addison decide he likes oatmeal after all?

“Snack Attack” is a fun, creative look at nutrition that shows children eating well is a matter of making the right choices. It sends its message without preaching to its audience. This is a charming book for children to read alone or with an adult. It will fast become a family favorite.

No Clues No Shoes – Marsha Casper Cook
Illustrated by Paisley Hansen

Addison Apple is back and this time he’s got a friend! Addison is in a new town and has moved in down the street from Miss Emelina Hewitt and her dog, Stanley.

Emelina likes to chatter. She also likes to solve crime. When she and Addison have the chance to go to detective school, she hops in excitedly. Even before they’re done with the course, they get their first crime. Shoes are missing, but there are no clues to help our two detectives pursue the possible perpetrator. Can Emelina and Addison solve this uncanny crime?

“No Clues No Shoes” is a wonderful, lighthearted story for third grade on up to read independently, or younger children to read with an adult. It’s a charmingly written chapter book that will keep a young reader’s interest.

Emelina is an energetic, bubbly character who will engage a child’s attention. Addison, who is much quieter, enjoys her lively presence. “No Clues No Shoes” is a great story that introduces children to the fascinating world of detective work.

Five Golden Acorns

© Dellani Oakes

Movies About . . . Women Reel Women Share Stories of Life and Love A Guide to Over 500 Movies Volume 1 by Alexander Law and Susan Winlaw


movies about womenMovies About Women is an amazing collection of reviews of various movies that have been done with female leads. Law and Winlaw wrote detailed reviews over 500 movies for this book, telling why each one is worth watching. Their reviews span the ages, mentioning some as early as 1937 – A Star is Born, to the present day.

Each movie is labeled so potential viewers know if they are getting a Romantic Comedy, Drama, Biography, Comedy, Fantasy, etc. There are 25 categories to draw from, making it easy for you to pick your favorites from the many.

After reading “Movies About Women”, I’ve added new entries to my Netflix queue. Soon, I’ll be enjoying “Mona Lisa Smile” and “How Stella Got Her Groove Back”. I’m also going to revisit favorites like “Deceived” and “The Pelican Brief”.

“Movies About Women” is a wonderful resource for anyone who loves movies. It is truly a labor of love on the part of the authors and a definitive guide to movies about women.

Five Golden Acorns

© 2012 Dellani Oakes


More Deaths Than One – Pat Bertram


more deaths“More Deaths Than One” will leave you breathless—first with anticipation, finally with a contented sigh of a job well done. Set in 1988, this well crafted, fast paced novel of love and intrigue spans the globe from Denver, Colorado to Bangkok, Thailand.

Bob Stark is a quiet man. A Vietnam vet, he’s returned to the states after nearly 18 years in Thailand. He came back to his childhood home of Denver because his life in Thailand couldn’t continue. His friend and mentor, Hsiang-li, left on a personal quest to find a golden Buddha in the jungle—the place where he had to bury his wife and child after they were murdered.

Kerry Casillas works nights in the diner Bob frequents. One night, she introduces herself and they get to know one another. Soon after meeting Kerry, strange things start to happen. Bob and Kerry find themselves embroiled in a mystery far beyond their understanding.

“More Deaths Than One” is an interesting tale of one man’s journey to find the truth. The character of Bob Stark is deep and many faceted. He’s quiet, kind and resourceful, showing abilities even he didn’t know he possessed.

Kerry is a fun loving character and the opposite of Bob in many ways. She’s talkative, outgoing and imaginative. She is the perfect partner and counterpart to Bob. She, too, has hidden talents that surprise and please Bob.

The well paced plot of “More Deaths Than One”, keeps the reader riveted, waiting to discover the many mysteries in Bob’s past. I enjoyed the fact that though I guessed at all of these secrets, I was right about only a few. Bertram truly kept me hopping as I made my way through the book. I like when a novel isn’t so predictable that I know the end before it arrives.

I highly recommend “More Deaths Than One” – a must read for all mystery and suspense lovers.

5 golden acorns

© Dellani Oakes


Road to Transplant – Brian M. Hayden


transplantRoad to Transplant by Brian M. Hayden chronicles on man’s journey toward getting a hew heart. Hayden openly discusses his thoughts and fears living with a chronic disease – heart failure. His only hope is a heart transplant, but fewer people are acting as donors. The wait seems endless.

In earlier book, Death & Living to Talk About It, Hayden tells readers what brought him to this place in his life. He doesn’t sugar coat or make excuses. In fact, he urges readers not to make the poor life choices he has.

The Road to Transplant is a wonderfully informative, fascinating book that clearly explains different medical terms so that readers can get the most from the book.

I found the book informative, interesting and emotional as Brian leads his readers down the road with him and his wonderful wife, Denise. Even after a transplant, the road continues to be a rough one. But with the love and support of his friends and family, Brian has survived.

This book should be suggested reading for anyone facing a chronic illness. It should also be read by anyone whose lifestyle threatens their health.

5 Gold Acorns

© 2013 Dellani Oakes


Merryweather Lodge – Ancient Revenge by Pauline Holyoak


merryweather lodgeEmily Fletcher goes to visit her aunt and uncle at Merriweather Lodge when she’s 15. She finds England far different from her native Canada. Strange and terrifying things start happening, including a visitation by an evil spirit who tries to possess Emily.

With the help of her Aunt Em, Emily is able to solve part of the mystery and brings a modicum of peace to the ghost of Mary Ellis, a child who lived in the house long ago.

Returning five years later for her uncle’s funeral, Emily realizes there’s more to the mystery. With the help of the handsome and dashing Johnathon McArthur, she pursues the evil spirit once again, seeking to free the person it possesses.

This well paced paranormal thriller is spine tinglingly wonderful. Just creepy enough to keep the reader enthralled, but not so frightening that it kept me up at night. I loved it.

Pauline Holyoak has done a wonderful job of weaving an old tale into a modern setting. Set in England, not far from Stonehenge, there’s just enough pagan undertones to give this mystery a incomparable flavor. There are some wonderful plot twists I didn’t see coming. I love when an author surprises me.

Merryweather Lodge – Ancient Revenge is a fantastic paranormal thriller and I highly recommend it to all readers. It’s a tingler, but not so terrifying that people (like me) can’t handle it. I look forward to reading the sequel, Merryweather Lodge – Malevolent Spirit.

5 Golden Acorns

© 20143 Dellani Oakes


The Rendlesham Incident – Case of the Cosmological Killer – By Stephanie Osborn


stephanie osbornStephanie Osborn never disappoints!! With Book 3 in her Sherlock Holmes mysteries, Osborn draws her audience into the story, immediately immersing them in the action.

UFOs have been spotted in the UK near Bentwaters and Woodbridge, two abandoned airbases. Observers describe is as a yellow orb of light that resembles a giant tennis ball. This is seems harmless enough until a man is found lying dead in his field. Reports say Mr. McFarlane died of fright, but authorities aren’t convinced.

Back in Colorado, it’s nearing Christmas. Skye Chadwick and Sherlock Holmes are happily ensconced at the ranch, enjoying some free time since the closing of the Tesseract Project. It is nearing Skye’s birthday, November 5, Guy Fawkes Day, and Holmes has quite a surprise in store.

I refuse to give plot spoilers. Readers can fill in obvious blanks themselves. Suffice to say, Skye is happily surprised.

After Christmas, the pair plan a trip to England where they are asked to investigate the death of Mr. McFarlane. What they find is disturbing as well as puzzling.

The Rendlesham Incident is a well paced sci-fi mystery that pits Homes & Chadwick against something not of this world. It leaves the reader puzzling over where it can possibly go wrong next.

Skye Chadwick is a fun character. She is intelligent, witty and spirited. She doesn’t back down from a tough situation and is read to take on any situation. Like Holmes, she is brilliant and resourceful. Although, by her own admission, her deductive powers are learned rather than intuitive, she is a great investigator.

I love Osborn’s characterization of Holmes. He’s true to his Victorian sensibilities, but shows his indomitable personality and ability to adapt to adverse circumstances. Holmes is a far more sympathetic character in Osborn’s series. Perhaps it was the style of the times, or maybe Sir Arthur Conan Doyle didn’t believe in revealing Holmes’ softer side, but I like the loving attention he showers on Skye, as well as the passion they share. He is the Holmes I always felt lurked beneath the words.

I highly recommend this book for all who love a good mystery and adore Holmes. Also a great read for sci-fi enthusiasts.

5Golden Acorns

© 2013 Dellani Oakes


Tobias and the Demon – by Janet Dooleage


Tobias & the Demon is a moderately paced novel for middle grade readers and up. Set in Biblical times, it chronicles the time when the city of Ninevah was occupied by Assyrians.

Tobias’ father, Tobit, has suffered severe punishment at the hands of the Assyrian rulers. Once well to do and influential, he is now sick, disgraced and poor.

Tobias has had run-ins with the Assyrian authorities – mostly because of a young woman. To protect him, but also for financial reasons, Tobit sends his son on a trip to retrieve money froom a family frined in a faraway city. He hires a stranger named Azarias to accompany his son. On the road, Tobias and Azarias have quite a few adventures. Azarias shows himself to be a man of great skill and knowledge. More than once, it’s his advice and care that saves Tobias.

The unusual thing about this story is that it’s told by Tag – Tobias’ dog, in first person. We see the world through Tag’s limited perspective and understanding. It took a little getting used to and I had to remind myself a few times, that the narrator is a dog. It does give the story a unique naivete that we wouldn’t see if Tobias narrated. However, it is limiting and some action couldn’t be shown because Tag didn’t see it.

Although this is an interesting look at ancient times, I found the dog’s perspective slightly disconcerting. This is a good story, but a little slow for my tastes.

Four Golden Acorns